PUBLIC ASKED TO REPORT SPILLS TO NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard reminds those impacted by Hurricane Katrina to report oil spills and hazardous material releases to the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802 (toll free), (202) 267-2180 (direct), or (202) 267- 4477 (TTD).

"As people return to their homes and businesses they may encounter oil spills and chemical releases caused by the hurricane, and I encourage them to report those to us," said Lt. Latasha Pennant, operations officer at the National Response Center. "The National Response Center is staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year, and our watch standers will immediately relay spill reports to the appropriate agency to initiate a response."

The National Response Center is the sole national point of contact for reporting all oil, chemical, radiological, biological, and etiological discharges into the environment anywhere in the United States and its territories. In addition to gathering and distributing spill data for federal on-scene coordinators and serving as the communications and operations center for the National Response Team, the National Response Center maintains agreements with a variety of federal entities to make additional notifications regarding incidents meeting established criteria. The National Response Center also takes reports of terrorist and suspicious activity and breaches of maritime security. More information on the National Response Center can be found at the National Response Center's web site: http://www.nrc.uscg.mil.